1. SPECIAL NOTE TO NEW REGISTRATIONS

    If you recently registered and have not received a confirmation email - please check your 'Spam or Junk' folders. Especially if your email is Hotmail. More help with confirmation issues

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice
  2. There's more to this forum than meets the eye!

    We have a vibrant community here conversing about all sorts of non-snow topics such as music, sport, politics and technology. Simply register to reveal all our Après topics or continue browsing and reading as a guest.

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice

Advice needed White Christmas in Japan?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Gimped, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Not quite a last minute decision, but close given the amount of planning needed!

    Family of 4, "children" are 17 and 20.
    Children are fairly accomplished skiers, boarders.
    My wife is beginner, and may not even ski after her ACL repair.
    I am low intermediate.

    Given the amount of days we will have (can't be away from the cattle that time of year too long) , prob only 7-10 days, I suspect we are better off on the main island rather than Hokkaido.
    Last time we went to Niseko, had a great time, but prices seem to have doubled since then.

    Would prefer average accommodation rather than "budget", western rooms etc.
    Can anyone suggest region and hotel choices for that time of year?
    Is it even too late to book?

    Cheers, Gimped.
     
  2. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    guaranteed snow further south for Christmas?
    when friends come visit in Niseko I warn them that its not guaranteed even that far north (tho very likely).
     
    LMB and skifree like this.
  3. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1998
    Messages:
    21,290
    Likes Received:
    11,410
    Location:
    Middle Oz
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    See here:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/japan-general-tips-for-when-and-where-to-go-for-snow.69888/

    More pressure on Niseko for bookings, but most other places in Japan haven't even OPENED booking yet.
    i.e. You can book on short notice in Japan around Christmas time, since it's not a holiday in Japan.

    ### Edit:
    When you say "Christmas", do you mean after, before or 5 days either side?
    e.g. if it takes you across Sat 28 - about 5th Jan, it will be difficult to find accom easily, because that's Japanese New Year. OTOH, Dec 17th - 27th will be easy.

    In that case go Hokkaido.
     
    southpaw and skifree like this.
  5. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    See edit ^^
     
  6. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Messages:
    947
    Likes Received:
    843
    Hey Sandy. Has Hokkaido ever had a Christmas without snow that you’re away of?
     
  7. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    I had one season where it was grass until Dec 26th. That night it snowed its ass off, and didn't stop until end of Feb. A real late start, but rewarded in the end.
    Other years, it can depend on your definition of snow.
     
    skifree likes this.
  8. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Worst I recall was 2016/17. Was a very strong El Nino year. Better early in December for some base, but lean from 18th Dec, right thru January for Niseko:

    @Any may be thinking of 2015/16, very lean to Xmas Day, strong from the 26th.
     
  9. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Messages:
    947
    Likes Received:
    843
    So even if it’s not a good year late December in Hokkaido will normally have a few groomers to slide on?
     
  10. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    oh for sure.
    the top tier of lifts wont be open, but the rest of the groomers will be skiable. I'd say about 30-75% open. perhaps a little less inland (eg Furano).
    most gates will be closed, and depending on the season some of the inbounds trees may be filled in enough to ski.
    pretty good chance you might not see much fresh snow during a week long visit tho, so snowing on Christmas eve while you head to bed ready for Santa isn't guaranteed either.
    at most Japanese resorts ive seen, they mow the piste runs in summer down to pretty short grass, and have removed most rocks and obstacles and things that get in the way. so it only takes a small amount of snow to make it skiable.

    *edit, I just googled. I thought a white Christmas had to be snowing like in all the movies, but appears I am wrong. Snow on the ground around Christmas time is virtually guaranteed in Hokkaido.
     
  11. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Ok, good to know. We could arrange to miss new year then.
     
  12. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    NY holidays are Wed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, + Sat 4th, Sun 5th. Since the 1st is a Wednesday, this year, people will take Mon 30th, Tue 31st, then get Sat 28th, Sun 29th.
     
    skifree and Any like this.
  13. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Yuk...I just checked the yen exchange rate!
    After all this great advice we will have to think about Canada as well. :(
     
  14. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    29,679
    Likes Received:
    25,218
    Location:
    woonona
    You do know that Christmas is just a ordinary day in Japan?
    Unless you're in a western lodge or accommodation. Its not a very big deal.
     
    Mitchthewitch, Hyst and Any like this.
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Do you know how much lift tickets are in Japan? Less than half the price of Canada.
     
    Zimbooo, skifree and Any like this.
  16. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    ive was watching the rate real closely. it was my homepage for some time. i was quite worried about it costing me 30% extra or something and severely restricting what I might do next season.
    until i realized that the recent crash is costing me only 5% more.
    true that that difference is worth more than the cost of a new pair of skis, but i save 3x that because of the difference in alcohol is so much cheaper in japan.
    i also just opened a zero fee citibank account that'll im hopeful will save me a heap in fees too.
     
    skivet, skifree and Donzah like this.
  17. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Messages:
    2,179
    Likes Received:
    2,439
    And some very good places offer senior discount at 55yrs........whoop whoop!!!!
     
    Mitchthewitch and skivet like this.
  18. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Some are 50yo.
     
    skifree and Mitchthewitch like this.
  19. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    29,679
    Likes Received:
    25,218
    Location:
    woonona
    which ones in Hakuba?
     
  20. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Iwatake, Cortina/Norikura, Goryu/47 are 50yo
    Happo & Tsugaike 60yo
     
    skivet, Donzah and chicski like this.
  21. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    29,679
    Likes Received:
    25,218
    Location:
    woonona
    wifey is the big 50
    cheap insurance ...thanks APIA.

    Tsugaike has a great points pass as well
     
  22. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Hah! Very true. Major savings on alcohol.
    Wifey was keen on Rusutsu, but it seems to be over the top expensive.
    I need to convince her on Japan!,
    What sort of “celebrations” does Niseko put on for Christmas , if any?
     
  23. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,024
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Don’t stay in the resort. Pretty sure there are pensions nearby much cheaper. Also remember you don’t have to fly via Tokyo to get to Sapporo. Lots of options via Asia that can be more convenient and cheaper.
     
    Any likes this.
  24. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    Chrissy isn't a huge thing in Japan. Visiting KFC is their big highlight of the day. I don't think its a public holiday.
    Except for town festivals, I don't think of the Japanese as overly exuberant celebrators for any holiday or occasion.

    Hirafu inconsistently has fireworks (seems like some years they do some dont). Ki usually have some reindeer in their front yard or walking around Hirafu, some reindeer at Niseko Village also. and maybe come candle stuff similar to Otaru's light path festival.
    Boxing day is fun to ski because its very quiet, and excited families getting around testing out the new stuff Santa got them. I saw a kid with 3x brand new gopro 7's last year, miscommunication between Santa's elves.

    New years even has pretty big fireworks at Niseko Village and Hirafu, and the torchlight ski parade thing in Hirafu too.
    New years day is also fun to ski, almost deserted until about midday because everyone else is hungover and tired.
     
    elSpike and Ozgirl like this.
  25. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    536
    These tens of thousands of people throwing coins at the Meiji temple would beg to disagree.



    Was one our most awesome Tokyo experiences.
     
    skifree, fennekeg and Any like this.
  26. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,732
    Likes Received:
    11,030
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
     
    Any likes this.
  27. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    I was thinking of crazy American 4th July with fireworks, music, shouting, sports and alcohol in the streets :p
     
    elSpike likes this.
  28. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    536
    True. None of that. Just lots of coin throwing. So much that they need to set up nets to stop people smashing windows.
     
    Any likes this.
  29. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    hahahahaha
     
    elSpike likes this.
  30. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    26,215
    Likes Received:
    15,998
    Location:
    Perth
    We’ve had fabulous Christmas celebrations in Niseko but we do BYO a bit. We have our own tree and decorations and Santa hats.

    The eggnog at Bar Gyu is pretty epically Christmas.

    I did notice there was a lot more western Santa paraphernalia in Kutchan the year before last than 10 years before when we did Christmas with the kids here.

    I love carrying pockets of Carmelo Koalas to give to the lifties and wish them a Merry Christmas. They seem to enjoy it too.
     
    Gimped, skivet, Hyst and 1 other person like this.
  31. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    How late can one arrive at Sapporo airport and still get a bus to Niseko etc?
    Just wondering if we can fly there in one day...
    (coming into Narita early evening)
     
  32. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    theres a 21:30 bus https://www.access-n.jp/winter2018/en/skibus/detail/chitose_rusutsu_niseko.html#000005
    a 16:30 bus https://www.goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/ski-bus/niseko-chitose.html
    and a 20:45 train to Kutchan (need taxi or pickup after) http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html . DO NOT take the train to Hirafu station, well you can if you like, just bring a sleeping bag and a tent if you do.

    might be time to transition to the https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/japan-2020-planning-and-stuff.83974/ thread instead.
     
    skifree, Hyst and LMB like this.
  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    26,215
    Likes Received:
    15,998
    Location:
    Perth
    Early evening to Narita would suggest late evening out of New Chitose - so my recommendation would be to stay at the airport hotel and bus out in the morning.

    Can you fly directly into Chitose instead of Narita?

    As far as buses Whiteliner doesn’t have too many late buses, but I believe Donan and Hokkaido Resort Liner have some later buses
    https://www.access-n.jp/winter2018/en/skibus/detail/chitose_rusutsu_niseko.html

    Your other option for a late arrival is a private transfer, which while exxy is not a bad option for a tired group of travellers arriving late and wanting just to get to the door of their accomodation.
     
  34. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Actually, I did find direct qantas flights from Sydney that get into Chitose around 6:30pm :)
     
    skifree, LMB, travelislife and 2 others like this.
  35. Mitchthewitch

    Mitchthewitch Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2017
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    A couple of years ago we did Christmas day in Osaka (at Universal Studios) then arrived in Nozawa Onsen on the 28th. Best way to spend Xmas in Japan! IMG_2484.JPG IMG_2512.JPG IMG_2534.JPG IMG_2632.JPG
     
    skifree and Any like this.
  36. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    26,215
    Likes Received:
    15,998
    Location:
    Perth
    Ahh, the new Ski Season only flights! We are on that too (but got Perth-Syd first).
     
    skivet likes this.
  37. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    It is the oldest plane in the fleet however. The reviews really disparage the seats etc :(
     
  38. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,024
    Location:
    Melbourne
    I thought they were using the A330’s? They are great in any class. Business has been totally refurbed and economy in 2-4-2 is better than 3-3-3 on the 787’s.
     
  39. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    29,679
    Likes Received:
    25,218
    Location:
    woonona
    A 744?
     
  40. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,024
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Pretty sure the route is on an A330.
     
  41. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    A330, but the 200 version. I am on an iPad, and can’t access the user comments, but a knowing poster on seat guru gave the rego of the plane, said it was the oldest version, with old seats particularly worse for business class.
     
  42. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    26,215
    Likes Received:
    15,998
    Location:
    Perth
    That wouldn’t be smart.

    Piss off their customers that are jumping on Japan skiing routes ... who do you think can afford to be your frequent flyers Qantas?!

    I have just done Perth-HK-Sapporo with Cathay (as a One World Partner) will return and come
    Back AGAIN on this same route before my Perth-Syd-Sapporo flight in December. If it made any sense to fly QF instead I would but a Perth-Sydney-Tokyo-Sapporo 30hr marathon does not appeal when compared to Perth-Hk-Sapporo in 14-16hrs depending on which connection you choose.

    If it’s a crap offering then people will fly it once and go back to the usual options - which are not Qantas.
     
  43. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,024
    Location:
    Melbourne
    It can’t be current. 100% of the A330’s have been refurbed (it took them 2+ years to do it though).
     
  44. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Not saying it is correct, but posted 29/6/2019

    This is the only A330-200 with this seating configuration left in the fleet (VH-EBG). OK for a domestic flight, but would avoid for International, as the seats are in the old 2+2+2 config for Business Class. Either look for A330-300, or A330-200 with new Business Suites in the 1+2+1 seating config.

    and this...

    this is a very old plane. the seat was VERY uncomfortable and lack of maintenance. TV screen was small, cracked, unclear...choices of movies and TV were very limited. Food was the worst I have ever had on any business class flights.

    and this...

    business seats are old and uncomfortable with angle flat bed. Dont say you weren't warned. Try and book the day before or after if A330-300 available
     
  45. Gimped

    Gimped One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    442
    Anyways...I have failed.

    Wifey wants to go to Whistler and can't be converted to Japan.
    She wants the Christmas vibe :(

    So , thanks everyone...
     
  46. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    789
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    I flew emirates a380 flagship "best in the world" to europe a few years ago, was absolute dogshit. it felt like less room than in economy, especially width ways, my shoulders were jammed in to fit. the 'tv' was a no-name ipad ripoff that goes flat 20mins into the flight, cant charge and watch at the same time. seat was rock solid with like 1cm of padding at most. it lies flat, but has huge gaps between the padding on each part of the seat, so unless you're a cat you can't sleep. no staff tending seats because they're busy trying to make their fancy bar up the front seem more trendy. then when you get off the flight you've got 800 people all hitting customs at the same time.
    on the way back from dubai the pilot got lost and flew to adelaide instead of brisbane (i think it was an engine failure). airport was closed, had to wait till morning to organize myself a flight home. sleeping on the airport carpet with bubble gum marks and the emergency lights flicking on and off.
    ill take an old style business class seat, but with great service, any day.
     
    LMB likes this.